A Pickling Experiment

We have this great recipe for pickled carrots called Firecrackers, from Alton Brown on the Food Network. We haven’t made them in a long time. I wish I had an old picture that I could have posted first with the firecracker recipe and then posted this latest experiment but I couldn’t find anything in my files. Oh well. Traditional firecrackers are GREAT! Check out the recipe and give them a try if you’re looking for something new. You can make them as spicy or mild as you’d like. If you’re like us and like the spice, then just add more spicy flavors to kick it up a notch. If you want to go more mild, stick close to the recipe and they will be a good mix of spicy and sweet.

Last night’s pickling experiment came about because we had oodles of squash, zucchini, and cucumber that needed to be cooked, or frozen, or something before it went to waste.
(Thanks again Phyllis for sharing your garden with us!)

Initially Don was thinking to blanch it all and freeze it. But then he remembered the firecracker recipe and decided we would try something along those lines.

A few other tools needed: slicer, jars, cooking pot, and lots of bowls.

Our Kitchen Aid Mandoline Slicer made slicing up all those veggies easy as can be.

We were not sure how much juice we were going to need to make so we started out by tripling the original recipe.

For the first batch of juice, we combined the following and boiled it for about five minutes.

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4.5 cups cider vinegar
  • 1.5 tsp mustard seeds
  • 4.5 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp chili flakes
  • 1 cup raisins – substituted in place of the third cup of sugar
  • 2 shallots – puréed with a bit of the water
  • 1 diced green onion
  • 1.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic

While the juice did its thing, we filled our jars. We started with seven and ended up with ten.

Turned out, three times the recipe was not going to cut it either. We had to make more of the juice, two more times. In the end, we made about six times the original recipe, give or take a little since this was all so haphazard.

The second batch we doubled the recipe with a few slight changes. We didn’t use any more raisins, we already had enough of those in the jars now. We didn’t have any more shallots so we used two more green onions, diced. And rather than two cups of sugar, we only used one and 1/2.

Still, we didn’t have enough. So we pulled everything out again and made one last single serving batch of the juice. I actually missed what Don put in it because I was writing up last night’s post at the time. But I’m pretty sure it was just more of the same just in smaller quantities.

The jars have to cool before sealing and refrigerating. We like to let them sit for about a week to get good and tasty. The longer they sit, the stronger the flavor.

We look forward to tasting these in a week and seeing how they turned out. Don is confident as usual that they will be great. I’m crossing my fingers because I always worry when making something new. If they are good, we might even share with a few people. 🙂

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


    1. It is pretty cool, you just have to watch your fingers a bit. (We don’t use the attachment that’s meant to protect your fingers and holds the food while slicing, it’s awkward. Trading safety for function…hmmm, probably not ideal but we try to be careful. No major injuries yet, knock on wood.)


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